There’s nothing like poetry to raise a mirror to the quality of your life.
I know when certain things are neglected in my life, that I’m prioritizing all wrong.
Sure I have to work hard, do my job, cook and be a mother, but I don’t have to give up the things that make my life poetic.
My bath time has always been sacred. It sounds silly, but it’s a ritual before I write, make love, or prepare for any significant event.
There is ritual about this time for me. I light candles. I listen to music with lyrics by Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and a plethora of other songwriters. I pour a glass of wine and have it within arms reach. I line up my soap, my razor, my cloth and loffah.
By candlelight I soak in the hot water, and let the music and lyrics penetrate the hard thoughts that have been pulsing through my brain throughout the day.
Language is a construct of logic. That’s why it’s often difficult to express emotion. Emotion defies logic.
Poetry seeps into that space between our physical selves and our human spirit. Poetry, with its similes and metaphors is as close as we can possibly come to expressing everything about ourselves that is emotional.
Since it seems our ability to express our emotion is basically all that separates us from apes, our poetic ability is pretty important.
Whenever my life has lacked poetry, time for creativity, or the exquisite indulgence of friendship, wine and blissfully rambling conversation, I have suffered.
…Now you can say that I’ve grown bitter, but of this you may be sure
The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor
And there’s a mighty judgment coming, but I may be wrong…
(Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song)
When my ritual gets lost, so does the time I dedicate to my creativity. For me it is writing, for others it’s painting, cooking, music or any other creative act. Hell, if it’s good, lovemaking is a pretty intense creative endeavor.
If your ritual to make creative space has gone by the wayside, or if you’ve never had one of those rituals, consider this;
Imagine, bringing a fresh, soft-ripe peach to your lips, and having the juice drip between your fingers and over your lips. You can’t help but savour the sweetness and that taste of fresh peach that you just can’t have any other time of year.
Now imagine biting that same peach, with the same juice covering your fingers, but you can’t taste anything. Your mouth is wet and full of the tender flesh, but there is no sweetness, there is no hint of that precious and rare flavour that you crave.
That my darlings is life without poetry.
Life with poetry becomes vibrant and joyful;
…And I’ll dance with you in Vienna
I’ll be wearing a river’s disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross…
( Lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Take This Waltz)
Life without poetry is like bringing home a dry, flavourless peach harvested green half-way around the world in February. It’s just not the same. It’s not juicy. it’s not sweet. It leaves you feeling like there must be something more.
When life lacks poetry you find it incredibly tedious to prepare and dress for your lovers, until you’re finally left only with partners who satisfy a base desire and you’re relieved to see them leave.
When life lacks poetry there is no beacon of hope left to guide you toward your heart’s desire. You are trapped by habit and fear change.
When life lacks poetry you are not in the present moment. You are either living in the future, or dwelling in the past.
Whatever it is that ignites your spirit is your poetry. Make time for it. Go after it. Remember what it means to live fully within your humanity.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
You can add up the parts, you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march, there is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee
(Lyrics by Leonard Cohen; Anthem)